12-11-2012, 09:04 PM
Just a quick greeting with my first post.
I heard about this website from my brother who is also in the field. After looking around, decided this would be a great place to join. I went to a tech school back around 2000, and got a job as a helper before finishing the degree. Worked as a helper for a while, and was given a chance at being a service tech. I did that for a few years, and after an injury moved to another company. There I did some installantion work, before eventually moving to another field of work. Stayed with that company about 5 years, and had to look for work.....long 18 months...and finally came back to HVAC. Decided I wanted to do control work, and went got my Niagara cert. Which is where I am at now, learning more about controls, automation and how it all intergrates together.
Looking forward to asking questions and joining conversations
12-11-2012, 10:22 PM
Sounds like you came to the right place... we've got some really good control guys here.
12-17-2012, 09:30 PM
At 17 I was a "punk" burning hamburgers, drag racing, and pumping gas. Married my long time girlfriend at 18, she was 16. Her step-dad knew people at a trade school and i started the next month. Got my first HVAC job while still in class, finished just before we had our first of four kids. They all made it thru college, something mom and dad couldn't manage. We got a computer programmer, a registered sugical nurse, a paralegal, and a fast food franchise owner. They gave us enough grandkids to field a football team. Mom worked a lot of part time jobs while I did this 100% of the time. this may not be a real glamorous job but it pays the bills and i got it a lot better than most. Getting dirty, working crazy hours, and having a good woman there has paid-off big time. Trying to keep up with the new stuff is rough but thats part of the game now. A place like this would have been great, I can't tell you how many times I called my old instructers for help. Keep up the good work.
12-18-2012, 08:32 PM
Well as of Monday I finished my basic a/c class and am on to learn electricy yay! I thought that the a/c was complex ..... it seems to be nothing compared to the electric side! Glad I'm a fast learner.
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12-19-2012, 09:03 AM
My story is a little different, I am basically self taught. Several years ago one of our local furnace men was retiring. I own several apartment houses, and met with him about purchasing his test equipment. I ended up purchasing his test equipment, along with a few hours of instruction. My original intent was just to maintain my own buildings. After doing my own service for a few years, I went to the state of Vermont department of fire safety, and went before the board, and told them I had been doing this for years, without a license. They questioned me a little, I gave them pictures of boilers I had installed. And the decided to let me take the Oil installer test. Thats how I got licensed.
12-19-2012, 09:10 AM
I installed a Buderus 215 last week with 5 zones, After the initial install I had issues with it thermal circulating. People on the third floor were saying they could not turn their heat off. There was already a flow controll check valve on every zone, but the long vertical run of pipe to the upper floors was causing the valves to leak through. To fix it I put a TAC zone valve on each zone. problem solved.
12-20-2012, 02:32 AM
Hi, I was in another field entirely.. operating large production machinery and nursing them through their issues. After realising the internet and society in general was likely to mean shrinking volumes and essentially 200 apps for a single job in the future, I absconded.
After a short break (which was not a break - family member sick and suddenly needed help so the holiday was actually 70+hours a week..lol) I assisted a friend with a few installs of some electrical gear, sound systems, large panels, fibre and racks etc. Though that was ok so applied for a few full time jobs, and landed one with a great company. Essentially starting off as a trade assistant roughin in the cabling for access controls and whatever was needed, the BMS department was in need of some additional hands. They said it takes a long while to become proficient and they were right - the learning curve is practically a right angle.
All in all though its really great to work in this field, so far been involved with Trend, Honeywell, Johnson and EasyIO, from projects starting at 1 controller in an office to a 25 story building with raging tyrants everywhere. On that note, Merry Christmas all!
12-20-2012, 09:56 AM
From Experience and Starting at a much lower position than I thought my previous education should earn me, it was not the case, as I started as a Green 1st Year Apprentice Grunt, that spent more time getting Break & Lunch for everyone is the norm in this field.
However, when you show that your the best at a low position and ask for more challanging things to do, even when the work you ask to do is something Mechanics usually do, you may get the chance to stick your hands in things that you wouldn't normally touch until you become a Mechanic, will all pay huge dividends later in your career. Hard work, studying wiring diagrams, mechanical drawings, etc... on your own time will help you as well.
I can't say that this always works out, because there will be times that you get stuck under a Mechanic afraid that you will take his job, & he will put you back to the grunt work, but patients always wins out in this field.
Personally, My 1st year in the Baltimore, MD Local #438 Steamfitters (Fitting Steams is a little harder than milking a cat), I was paired the hardest working HVAC Control Mechanic that I could have ever imagined and went home every day exhausted & I thought that this was how all Mechanics worked. So, for a full year we would compete to see who could do more each day & he gave me all the necessary instruction, along with making me look like a fool to every one when I messed something up that it made me want to excel that much more. During that Year, I went from 3 time Tim to 2 time Tim & finally made it to being called 1 time Tim, because I stopped making mistakes.
Now I hated that 1st year with all my heart at the time, but looking back, I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. As a reward for my determination through the 1st year, I was given a Company Van, tooled out and started running my own projects & this was a time that I could learn through my mistakes & was not afraid to ask questions about what I didn't know. I have never been layed Off, as a result, was made a mechanics Foreman, when I finished my Apprenticeship & continued to work at a high level through the next 10 years.
When your Company sees your Value, they will want to invest in you and make you happy, because I can tell you that 5% of all workers actually can be self-motivated and get their work done correctly, without oversite. I learned this to be true from going back to my Steamfitter Apprenticeship and started teaching Mechanic & Apprentice classes for 4 years regarding Advanced Electric/Electronic Control wiring & troubleshooting.
My Company was the late Machinery & Equipment sales of Balt, MD and we were a Barber-Colman/Invensys self owned rep, who had been working with Tridium Niagara Framework, as a form of getting their Product out there. My crowning achievement was to go there and pass the Tests to become Tridium certified & I did it as a Union Forman, who had a little exposure to the product and loved it. So as you have read, I was never one to turn down a challange & it started by using Xpsi software to correct 5 Sister Units in 5 days, because all of our DDC Tech's had been kicked off the project. I want to emphasize that I read all the user Manuals and anything else I could find 1st, so I could learn how to use the laptop (never used a computer before) & then use the Software to program the LCM's and Microzone II's & by the 5end of the 4th day I had the program written and ready for download & it took me the 5th day to download the program to all 5 Units in 5 different buildings and I succeeded.
After that success, they felt that they were wasting my talent out in the field and they put me in the Engineering Department for 2 Years after Honeywell aquired us & I was made an offer I couldn't refuse, which was to make the same Union Forman wage, except as a Non-Union employee, I was given all the Vacation earned by my total time which was grandfathered, as well as sick days , short & long term disability & I was basically in Heaven until Honeywell dissintigrated our Company and we were told to stop working with Tridium & start using Honeywells EBI (Sucks). With such high profit margins required to win a job, we were thining out fast, but I stuck around and had to have back Surgery, which would have sunk me if I had remained Union(they only want Healthy people). I was paid full pay for 6 months & came back to work another 2 years, only to have more issues, so I left for a School System.
I 1st sought out to work in Montgomery County since they are the highest paying County & they matched my Project Manager Pay from Hoeneywell and i got off even more time, then came the Politics, as I was to simply enter after hour use of Schools into BAS Systems, which bored me to death & after 9 Months, I couldn't take the waist of my knowledge any longer and went to Howatrd County & have been given a new Van, laptop with needed Software, all the tools I needed and all of the Keys & was told to go fix whatever you want to. This was a job made in heaven until the Facilities Politics reared there ugly heads & grievances were filled against me for doing too much work and this was because the School's assigned HVAC mechanics couoldn't follow or understand what I was doing. For instance, the 1st 5 Schools I went into, had bad Air Dryers at the Pneumatic Compressor. When I told the lead man, he said he would get some in about 3 weeks. Boy was that an eye opener, as anyone worth their salt with Pneumatics, knows that the main thing that you must make sure of is that you provide Dry/Clean air to the mains. Here, they do not understand that when an Air Dryer fails, it must be replaced immediately and if you let it go and wait to replace it later, that all the rubber diaphrams will become brittle and cracked, thus destroying all Pneumatic Controls. This is still a problem and most of our HVAC Mechanics (Really HAC Mechanics because they have no idea about Indoor Air Quality or the importance of keeping a builing in a positive) do not have a clue about what the Pneumatic Systems are doing, because there is no oversight and the Schools give up trying to get a School tempered & controlled correctly.
Finally after writing a Novella about what it takes to succeed, I have been moved to the Construction department so I can be of better use to the County, by making sure Schools HVAC works when the Schools are turned over. Unfortunately, the Companies that are providing our Mech Engineering, Mechanical Install, BAS Control Install & the integration between the Packaged Equipment & the BAS, never seem to understand that the Packaged equipment must meet the sequence. So my job is what I want it to be & my Health is not Good.
Look back to my beginning in this trade and you will see that i could not have moved up as I have without the intense studying & questioning to everybody. Remember you can learn something from everyone, even the screw-ups, because they will show you how not to do things.
Good luck & may you be the Master on here helping new guys, such as yourself.
"Please, Do Not Shoot the Messenger!!!"
"It is not what you Know, but rather, Knowing where to find the answer when you need it"
12-22-2012, 07:17 PM
well after graduating from high school and going to comunity college for 2 semesters I found that it wasn't what I wanted in life. So i stuck to my job in retail full time as the money started getting better(promoted) I got comfortable with the pay checks and that went on for 4-5 years. then I "grew up" told myself that I can't live the rest of my life working retail so I did the best thing that came to my mind. Go back to school..only this time I decided to take a trade route. I have always been the hands on type of guy and believe me i considered automotive, plumbing, electrical and elevator service.. i guess the reason why I choose HVAC/R was because it touches most of the things I have intrest in the electrical and plumbing. If i wish to i can go for the MVAC down the road but for now im happy with what Im learning in class..2 more semesters to go and I'll have me a certificate and a degree to go along with it...as far as jobs go Im going to be helping an old coworker from the retail industry (who moved on and became a handy man) install a new ductless mini split system in a light comercial setting.
12-28-2012, 02:06 PM
Well I've been lurking on the site for a little while now so I figure it's about time to introduce myself. I'm 29 and started out working precision sheet metal fab when I was 16. Did mostly precision fabrication and CNC operation but also did a bit of duct manufacturing when we had a job requiring it. After 4 years of that I moved into oil pipeline construction doing pipe fitting, weld helper, concrete, remodeling, trenching, and remediation. Worked there for 5 years until the company started having problems and I moved into a facilities management spot for a live music venue in Hollywood. I've been here almost 7 years and do pretty much all the maintenance on the building myself that I can. I've been very fortunate that the tech for the AC and refrigeration company that we have a maintenance contract with has been more than generous in teaching me the basics of the equipment. I have now done a compressor swap, couple of cap tube changes, many fan and motor changes, tracked down several leaks and repaired then recharged the unit and replaced door warmer wire and drain heater on a freezer. Luckily we have many reach in units so I can work on effing up the small stuff before I graduate to effing up the big stuff.
Now I am at the point where I see no room for advancement with this company. They need a light bulb change and toilet plunger, and I would like to move beyond that. I picked up several books on AC and read whatever I can online and got my 608. This last weekend I had an interview with a company in central California that does commercial and industrial refrigeration, it went well and I meet with the owner of the company next weekend for a second interview. Hopefully it goes well and I will be able to actually start a career with a future. I know just enough to be dangerous at this point and I realize that, but I am very mechanically minded so with any luck I'll get assigned as a helper for a good tech and be able to pick up some classes as well. I'm getting into this a little later in life than I would have liked to but it took me a little while to find something that interested me to this degree.
12-29-2012, 10:28 PM
I have been a guest for sometime now. I have posted a few comments and a few questions. I started out in this field when I was 18 driving parts. After about 8 months I was offered a chance to learn the trade so I took the opportunity. I spent a year doing nothing but pm's day in and out. I then was offered a chance to join the install crew. I spent the next 7 years installing walkins, ice machines, custom cook lines and roof tops. After that i went into the service end and was offered a position in sales and commercial estimating/ design. I ran with that for a year and hated it. After 10 years with that company I moved onto a heavy commercial company working on racks in grocery stores. I liked working on the racks and learning the controls and different racks. I soon wanted more out of the field and began researching the industrial end of the field. After a few days of reading about the applications and type of work I began applying anywhere that did industrial work. I finally this year landed a job with a industrial company that was willing to give me shot. I will never look back this is great.
12-30-2012, 03:51 PM
Its not later in life ur 29? So am I with 3 kids. I got laid off from being an estimator at a bodyshop. Now I'm going to school at a great tec school for 10 months. I hope you get the job your going for and hopefully they will put you in some classes and with a good mechanic that is willing to teach u. Good luck! Cheers
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12-31-2012, 02:55 PM
Long, long ago in a Galaxy right near you.... I got into the HVAC trade to make a buck. I traveled the east coast from north to south as a tech into everything from res to commercial, industrial, insitutional. I've worked on window units to centrifugals, VRF to sea faring cargo ship sea water cooled refrigeration and A/C. Now, I've transitioned into management and committed to being involved with RSES. Reflecting back, I see people were a lot more committed to their trade years ago then now. There are few left that see a value in apprenticeship. The mentality "Train a salesman to be a person that looks like a tech just to get a foot in the door." I hope there's a few of us out there that still recognize the value of training and hiring from within. Unfortunately, management doesn't see the commitment of the employee to the company or his trade. All I can effect is my little world....
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